I have recently had a spate of 18th birthday presents to buy. These are always difficult. Anything decent is expensive & the cost adds up.
Because I really enjoy trawling ebay I now use it to find something special in solid/sterling silver and glass (crystal or cut glass) in the Antiques category. I look for something that hasn't been engraved before (i.e. it has a 'vacant cartouche') and something that is hall marked. I like the items that were produced at the turn of the 19th century because they are prettier than the items made post 1920 or Art Deco......well I think so but you might prefer the later period. One has to look at the item really carefully so as not to get anything too damaged - a little bit of damage is OK. And make sure the hallmark has not been polished off - this shows the item has had too much polishing.
At any rate these items are good quality & quite special. For girls I buy dressing table items - bowls, mirrors, trinket boxes. For boys one could buy a glass or silver tray for change. I am still thinking about what to get for boys - they're a bit more tricky.
A really special touch would be to have the cartouche engraved
Unfortunately my own experience of using 2 different engravers in York is that their careless work spoils an item. And it also adds disproportionately to the cost.
I probably spend up to about £25 for the item but I have got some nice little pieces for about £12 on ebay, and I generally give the item a good clean.
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9 February 2010
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